Drone Laws in Florida Explained (2023 Regulations)


Drone laws in Florida have become increasingly complex as both federal and state authorities strive to balance safety, privacy, and innovation. But, Drone operators must understand the legal landscape governing their aerial activities.

This guide provides an in-depth look at various aspects of Florida drone regulations.

Federal Regulations for Drones in Florida

Federal Drone Laws in Florida

The FAA and applicable state legislation govern drone operations in Florida. The 2018 FAA Act authorizes and regulates government drone use while also allowing commercial operations. To fly a drone recreationally in Florida, you must pass the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test known as The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). After passing the test, then you must register your device with the agency.

Requirements for recreational flying under federal guidelines

  • Aerial drones: Must weigh less than 55 pounds.
  • Drone registration: Required for all devices weighing more than 0.55 pounds.
  • Flying height: Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level.
  • Airspace restrictions: Adhere to FAA rules, avoiding restricted areas such as airports and military bases.

Drones can pose a risk to public safety and privacy when flown improperly. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the state and local drone laws in Florida that drone operators, recreational drone flyers, and drone enthusiasts.

Florida State Drone Laws

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has the authority to enforce state drone laws. These laws include:

  • State law: Florida Statutes, Chapter 934, Section 50 prohibits the use of drones for surveillance of privately owned property without written consent.
  • Local laws: Many cities and counties in Florida have their own drone laws. For example, Pinellas County prohibits drone use on public property without a permit, while Miami-Dade Police Department requires officers to have a warrant before using drones for surveillance.
  • Florida ban: The Florida legislature also banned the use of Chinese-made drones by state agencies due to concerns over national security.

Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Florida

Violating drone laws in Florida may result in fines, criminal charges, and other penalties. Illegal acts include flying drones in restricted airspace, piloted remotely without a license, and causing property damage. Law enforcement agencies take drone activity seriously and will not hesitate to enforce the law. 

Approved Drone Manufacturers in Florida

When flying drones in Florida, you must use approved drone manufacturers. DJI drones are a popular choice among drone pilots because they’re reliable and easy to use. However, not all DJI drones are approved for use in Florida. Before purchasing a drone, make sure it’s approved for use in the state.

Statewide Drone Laws in Florida

State Drone Laws in Florida

In Florida, there are four statewide laws that govern drone operations and preempt local ordinances. The purpose of these laws is to ensure the safety, privacy, and responsible use of unmanned aircraft systems. These laws address various aspects of drone activity including prohibited areas for operation and privacy protection measures.

Prohibited Areas for Drone Operation

The Florida Statutes prohibit operating drones over critical infrastructure facilities without proper authorization. This includes power plants, water treatment facilities, and other sensitive locations where unauthorized aerial access poses a risk to public safety or state security.

Privacy Protection Measures

To protect individual privacy rights, the law also prohibits capturing images of privately owned property using a drone without the owner’s written consent. Individuals harmed by inappropriate uses can pursue civil action under the law (The Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act). Furthermore, flying drones near private property may require compliance with FAA regulations on airspace restrictions around residential areas.

Local Ordinances on Drone Usage

Local Drone Laws in Florida

In addition to statewide drone laws, local governments within Florida have enacted additional regulations. These ordinances vary across different jurisdictions and may impose restrictions beyond those set by the state.

City-specific Restrictions Across Different Jurisdictions

Miami’s ordinance regulates drone usage within city limits, while Bonita Springs restricts operations in its parks. In Pinellas County, flights over county-owned or managed properties are prohibited. Orlando does not allow flying drones within 500 feet of city parks or schools but currently has no specific law about takeoff and landing on country-managed lands.

University Policies Affecting Campus Airspace

Some universities in Florida also enforce their own policies regarding drone activity on campus. Drone operators must familiarize themselves with these rules before attempting any aerial activity near educational institutions.

Addressing Security Concerns with Chinese-made Drones

Due to concerns about potential spying by Chinese-made drones like DJI devices, Florida banned state agencies from using them. This move aims to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access via popular consumer-grade products that are manufactured overseas.

FAQs in Relation to Drone Laws in Florida

Can I Fly a Drone in My Neighborhood in Florida?

Yes, you can fly a drone in your neighborhood in Florida as long as you follow federal and state regulations. This includes registering your drone with the FAA, adhering to altitude limits (typically 400 feet), avoiding flying over people or private property without permission, and maintaining visual line-of-sight. Check for any local ordinances that may apply to your specific area.

Is It Legal to Fly a Drone over Private Property in Florida?

No, you cannot fly a drone over private property in Florida without the owner’s consent. The state has restrictions on capturing images of private properties using drones if they violate reasonable expectations of privacy. Violating these laws could result in civil penalties or criminal charges.

Are Drones Banned in Florida?

No, drones are not banned outright across all of Florida. However, there are certain areas where their use is restricted due to safety concerns or privacy issues. Local ordinances vary by city and county, so always check for specific rules before operating your drone.

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I’m a huge fan of drones, cars, and anything that moves fast! Having bought, tested, and raced drones over the years, tinkering and experimenting with different parts and types, my fascination with drone technology led me to start this blog. So if you enjoy drone content covering the latest drone reviews, recommendations for the best drones for certain uses, and informative content on programming drones and other fun areas, stick around!

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